Home MB Herald Churches prepare for Olympic opportunity

Churches prepare for Olympic opportunity

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Thousands of Christians are joining their efforts to get ready for 300,000 visitors who will come to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver-Whistler. The games start on Feb. 12, followed by the Paralympic Games in March, so it’s a major enterprise with many opportunities.

More than a dozen denominations, including the Mennonite Brethren, have banded together under More Than Gold (MTG) to “make the most of the time” for the kingdom. The MB representative, B.C. conference administrator Marilyn Hiebert, says opportunities still exist for individuals and for churches – from driving vans to packing welcome kits.

• The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is providing its emergency response team to train local people.

• The Salvation Army is bringing its mobile kitchens from across Canada to make coffee and hot chocolate for people at Olympic transit stops. More volunteers are needed.

• Home hospitality is being organized for international chaplains. More homes in Vancouver, near existing transit, are needed.

• Thousands of knitters across North America are making 30,000 scarves, in More Than Gold colours, to help tell the gospel story. Some 5,000 scarves will be for homeless people.

• Some churches are planning parallel events in their neighborhoods, like inviting local kids’ hockey teams and their coaches to their large-screen viewing areas to watch world championship hockey games. In downtown Squamish, The Rock church is doing a local coffee shop/entertainment centre for Olympic visitors.

• Volunteers can work “clean-up,” to keep the city neat and welcoming.

MTG volunteers will also distribute New Testaments or the Gospel of Mark, being made available at very low prices.

“There are huge opportunities to serve in simple little ways,” says Hiebert. Many churches and individuals have signed up to help, but for an event of this size, there’s still room for more, and there is still time.

To participate, call the B.C. MB conference at 1-888-653-9933 or visit www.morethangold.ca.

—Barrie McMaster

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